I took a second look at the light leak issue I’m having with my Mamiya 645 1000S. In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to have a CLA (Clean, Lube & Adjustment) done on the camera. After inspecting the camera again, I thought I might try removing what was left of the old light seals and install new ones myself. I figure I can try this now and hope for the best and if necessary, I could then have the CLA done.
I gathered all the tools and materials I would need to do the job. The key decision I had to make was what type of material I would use for the seal. Would it be felt or foam, glue or adhesive? I don’t like the mess of glue so I searched for something with an adhesive back. The felt I found did not have the thickness I wanted and I could not find any foam with an adhesive back locally. The only thing that I could find that looked promising was a strip of Velcro, the soft side. It had an adhesive back and it had a thickness that would provide a good seal.
I started with the door. I used the rubbing alcohol to help remove the old seal and glue. After some scraping and cleaning with the q-tips, I was ready for the new seal strips.
Old Door Seal – Photo 1
Old Door Seal – Photo 2
I measured the widths and lengths I would need and prepared the strips for installation.
Door Replacement Seals
I had to trim and re-cut a couple of the strips to make them fit better.
New Door Seal Installed – Photo 1
New Door Seal Installed – Photo 2
I repeated the same steps for the camera body. The camera body was a bit harder to do. The tolerances were smaller and I had to work around the door latch and door release lever.
Camera Body Old Seal – Photo 1
Camera Body Old Seal – Photo 2
Door Seals & Camera Body Seals Complete
Only time will tell if these seals will hold up or even if this solved my problem. I will admit that the adhesive was not as tacky as I would have liked. Maybe the constant pressure of the door being closed will help seat the new seals. That is one thing I did like. The door takes more pressure to close now. This resistance tells me I should be getting a good seal. My first test roll after this operation is going to be a roll of Ilford Delta 3200. I’ve been wanting to try a high speed film for low light and night work. I plan to shoot some urban scenes at night around Nashville. I also need to shoot a few daylight shots to see if my seals are working. The leak will be more prone to happen in the day versus the night. I look forward to the documentary look that this black and white film renders. Stay tuned to see if this operation was a success.
First Roll of Film after Operation